Slow horse keeps eating grass
even after it's turned bitter and white.
She understands prayer as the sun
pulling the scent of dust from her coat.
Slow horse takes the long way,
stands in the creek, mud to fetlock.
Slow horse is wild with all the memory
of wild horses in the space behind her eyes.
She can't breathe through her mouth, waits
until a hard rain and watches it soak
the dirt. She wears no rider, crushes
blossoms under her weight. Slow horse drinks
the coldest water despite painful teeth,
won't sleep standing, risks lying
on her side. Slow horse is relieved it's autumn,
in love with many competing things.
She can read the shadows of birds
without lifting her head. Her own shadow
is a root being pulled. Slow horse finds
hoofprints of the others filled with water,
orients herself once each day, at dusk.
She finds the sun has set and cooled
the sweat on her back. Her hide twitches
at the slightest imagined touch. Slow horse
pulls out her silver hair, wakes somewhere new.
Slow Horse ~ Gretchen Marquette
The Georgia Review: Summer 2016